Checkpoint 72

C*H*E*C*K*P*O*I*N*T* 72

Checkpoint 72 is edited by Peter Roberts and will be beautifully and expertly duplicated by Ian Maule. The selfsame Ian Maule is Checkpoint's usual editor in these latter days and he holds court at 8 Millcroft Cres, Ealing, London W5 2SG, UK. Checkpoint is available from Ian for news, letter, trade, or subscription (5/40p or 10/70p). This issue dated 25.8.76 – Restormel Production: 102.

Results of the 1975-1976 CHECKPOINT Fan Poll

A record thirty two people voted in this, the fifth annual British fan poll since the days of SKYRACK; only eighteen people voted last year. The poll covered British fanac from Easter 1975 to Easter 1976, though these dates were only used as a rough guide. All fans were eligible to vote, though ballots were only distributed through CHECKPOINT.

The following fans voted: Harry Bell, Irene Bell, Eric Bentcliffe, John Berry (US), Gray Boak, Graham Charnock, Pat Charnock, Rich Coad (US), Dave Cockfield. Kevin Easthope, Malcolm Edwards, Chris Fowler, Mike Glicksohn (Can), David Griffin, Terry Hughes (US), Alan Isaacson, Rob Jackson, Roy Kettle, Dave Langford, Richard McMahon, Ian Maule, Joseph Nicholas, Tom Perry (US), Greg Pickersgill, John Piggott, Graham Poole, Pete Presford, Brian Rouse, Paul Ryan, Paul Skelton, Simone Walsh, and Don West.

BEST BRITISH FANZINE: Nineteen different titles were nominated, fifteen of them receiving more than one vote. Five points were awarded to a first place vote, four to the second, and so on down to one point. CHECKPOINT itself was ineligible. Last year's position is in brackets.

1) MAYA (96 points)(6th) edited by Rob Jackson, 21 Lyndhurst Rd, Benton, Newcastle on Tyne, NE12 9NT. (available for 40p or the usual). Three issues eligible (1975-76). Rob Jackson, you've no respect. Who are you to break with long years of fannish tradition by taking a nicely messy, typically haphazard, British fanzine that's doing nobody any harm, and turning it into a frequent, attractive publication with good contributors and massive reader response? Fout on you, fakefan! This sort of behaviour could give British fandom a good name...

Actually, Maya has always been amongst the better British fanzines since it started six years ago; but the previous editors, Ian Williams and then Ian Maule, never really got things together and the Gannetfandom genzine never fulfilled its potential. Since Rob Jackson has taken over, however, Maya has benefited enormously from his enthusiasm and energy.

The eighth issue, which won the 1975 Nova Award, was the first in the larger, printed format, and made good use of it with a wraparound Mayan cover by Harry Turner. Inside were Pete Weston's first "Slice of Life" column, Marsha Jones on computer simulation games, Malcolm Edwards dissecting fanzines, Chris Morgan & Mark Adlard with a couple of book reviews, and a large letter column. An even greater number of letters appeared in the ninth issue, leaving room for just a couple of articles: Peter Weston's column (on editing an sf anthology) and Ian William's "Goblin Towers", a self-indulgent look back on Gannetfandom with the aid of some (sadly blurred) photos. Harry Bell's fine cover for Maya 9 easily won the 'Best Cover' section of this poll. The tenth issue sported an odd cover by David Hardy, whilst inside were "Income Taxi" (Bob Shaw's reminiscences of his career as a Canadian taxi driver), a column by Mike Glicksohn, Malcolm Edwards on fanzines, Doug Barbour on James Tiptree Jr, plus another large selection of letters.

And there we are: three issues of a good genzine with both sf and fannish items, the emphasis on the latter, and with Rob Jackson making his editorial presence felt. A worthy winner, I'd say. Good stuff.

2) STOP BREAKING DOWN (87 points)(-) edited by Greg Pickersgill, 4 Lothair Rd, South Ealing, London W5. (available for 20p or the usual). Two issues eligible. I've suffered for Stop Breaking Down, you know – when the publishing urge hits Greg he comes into work full of hideous tales of torn-up stencils and discarded ideas. It hurts my frugal fannish soul. I'm damned if I can see why he shouldn't produce the occasional crudzine like the rest of us. But there you go: he doesn't, and SBD is the good fannish fanzine that results.

The first issue indulges in some nostalgia with three anecdotal pieces on the way it was ten years ago according to Graham Charnock, Rob Holdstock, and myself. Overseas Editor, Simone Walsh, considers the upcoming Mancon, and Greg analyzes some recent fanzines. The second issue is largely given over to a lively letter column, though there's room for Greg to muse over another crop of fanzines, Simone to pen a fighting column (and a poem!), and Pat Charnock to give some response to the aftermath of the Nova Award squabble.

Stop Breaking Down has got the presence and vitality of the personalzine wedded with the scope and response of the genzine. It's a bloody good combination; but if you're inspired and intend to follow Greg's lead, make sure you buy your stencils by the gross...

3) TRUE RAT (83 points)(1st) edited by Roy Kettle, 43 Chesholm Rd, London N 16. (available for the usual). Two issues eligible. Well, I dunno; do you think it would be too wicked if I abandoned my impartiality for a moment and said that True Rat is my favourite fanzine? After all, I'm the only one who never gets to vote in the Checkpoint Fan Poll. Actually, it's not so much the fanzine itself that's so good, but simply Roy's own writing (for which he was voted Best Fanwriter in this poll). True Rat itself is just a vehicle for this – a straightforward personalzine where the only outside contributions, namely the letters, are eclipsed by the maniac ace fanwriter himself.

Star item in the sixth (Special All-Marriage) issue is 'One Tun Mischief In Space', an amazing account of London fans melting. Yes, well – amazing. There are also a couple of letters, fanzine reviews, the 'Open Flie' column of dubious news items, plus an advert for the Bromley Silent Farting Association. The seventh issue contains the ultimate space opera, 'Bigles And The Jiant Algy From Outer Space', plus a Progress Report for Mancon 5, letters, fanzine reviews, and 'The True Rat Microdot Library of the Best Of Pel Torro'.

It's a fine fanzine, Roy, and a cheering thing to read when you're feeling less than your fannish best. And when you're feeling good...well, amazing.

4) WRINKLED SHREW (76 points)(2nd) edited by Pat Charnock, 70 Ledbury Rd, London W11. (available for the usual) Two issues eligible. Now that the Charnocks have bought their own duplicator I no longer have the inky pleasure of pubbing their ishes. Duplicating Pat's Shrew used to be a weird and wonderful experience – I'd read the pages at random looking for signs of the dread stencil creep, and discover all sorts of strange, inspired writings. That indeed is one of the attractions of the (finished) Shrew – its quality of surprise; Pat has a magpie eye for entertaining, but unpredictable material.

The cover of the fourth issue is a good place to start; it's a portrait of Karl Marx with rodents in his beard and the reader is invited to spot the shrews therein (taking care to avoid the false voles). Knockout. Covers that bemuse people are rare and good things. Main item inside is Pete Nicholls' mighty Seacon report which won the Best Article section of this poll. Roy Kettle starts his fannish memoirs with an account of his ill-spent youth; Dicky Howett describes a cartoonist's convention, Gray Charnock investigates Geordie, there are a few letters, and finally an assortment of oddities, including a handy egoboo index. The fifth issue carries an even more esoteric cover and contains an illustrated column from Dicky Howett, further adventures of Roy Kettle (at the 1969 Eastercon), the collected editorials of Pat Charnock, a pull-out fannish boardgame, letters, a cartoonstrip, and a multitude of other items.

Shrew is a good fanzine. What's more, it's a large good fanzine, and there aren't many of those around Put Graham out on the streets, sell the cats, and publish some more of them, Pat.

5) EGG (31 points)(3rd) edited by Peter Roberts, 6 Westbourne Park Villas, London W2. (available for the usual). One issue eligible. Whilst the heavy mob fought amongst themselves for the top four placings, Egg and I were quietly sitting in the safety of a comfortable fifth position. Last year I was apologetic about only producing two issues; this year I think I'll just give a shrug and list the contents of my one and only ish.

The tenth Egg contained an odd little piece on Lovecraft by James Parkhill-Rathbone, John Brosnan's 'Nog' column, fanzine reviews from Eric Bentcliffe, and a large crop of letters. The editorial tried, in part, to place Raleigh Evans Multog in the fannish hall of fame – and may almost have succeeded.

Must try harder next year.

Next five:
6) Knockers from Neptune (18 points)(-) ed Pat & Mike Meara
=7) K (14 points)(-) ed Dave Rowe & Bernie Peek
=7) Vibrator (14 points)(-) ed Graham Charnock
9) Daisnaid (11 points)(-) ed Don West
10) Goblin's Grotto (8 points)(-) ed Ian Williams

Out from last year's top ten, therefore, are Inferno (which actually came in eleventh this year), Zimri, Triode, Spi, Cypher and Big Scab.

Stop Breaking Down attracted the largest number of voters (28) this year, whilst Maya received the largest number of first place votes (10).

BEST BRITISH FANWRITER: Twenty three people were nominated, fifteen of them receiving more than one vote. Points were awarded as in the 'Best Fanzine' section and last year's positions are again in brackets.

1) ROY KETTLE (95 points)(1st). Well, I suppose he deserves it once again. You can't argue with fourteen first place votes, in any case. Roy has been producing some fine writing for his own True Rat, as we've come to expect; but he's also ventured outside with at least one piece in Zimri, his excellent fan memoirs in Wrinkled Shrew, and an all too occasional loc. Hugo next year, Roy. England expects...

2) BOB SHAW (73 points)(7th). Bob is making a welcome return to fanwriting not only with the scripts of his remarkable Eastercon talks (the Seacon one is in danger of becoming the most reprinted article of 1975), but also with some fine fannish items in Mota and Maya.

3) GREG PICKERSGILL (56 points)(4th). Greg's kept himself within the confines of his Stop Breaking Down this year where he comes out with worthy editorials and, most especially, his famed 'Burning Hell' column of fanzine reviews in which he allows himself plenty of space for a thoughtful and entertaining overall view of fans and fandom.

4) PETER ROBERTS (47 points)(3rd). And thank you, kind voters. I've been my usual indulgent self in Egg, but, wonder of wonders, I've actually managed to produce a column for The Spanish Inquisition and an article for Stop Breaking Down. In a couple of bouts of unusual hyper-fanac I even produced a couple of dozen locs in 1975, mostly, however, for far-flung American fanzines and destined for the WAHF lists...

5) GRAHAM CHARNOCK (36 points)(11th). Grah has been exhibiting his fannish talents in his own Vibrator this year, and why not? He is also responsible for many of the odder oddments in Shrew and has penned some true confessions for Stop Breaking Down.

Next five:
6) Pete Weston (23 points)(-)
7) Ian Williams (21 points)(8th)
8) John Brosnan (14 points)(2nd)
=9) Pat Charnock (13 points)(5th)
=9) Don West (13 points)(-)

BEST SINGLE ISSUE: Thirteen issues of nine fanzines were nominated.

1) True Rat 7 (6 votes)(Roy Kettle)
=2) One Off 1 (4 votes)(David Bridges)
=2) Stop Breaking Down 2 (4 votes)(Greg Pickersgill)
=4) Wrinkled Shrew 4 (3 votes)(Pat Charnock)
=4) Wrinkled Shrew 5 (3 votes)(Pat Charnock)

BEST BRITISH FANARTIST: Twenty seven people were nominated, sixteen of them receiving more than one vote. Points were awarded as in the 'Best Fanzine' section and last year's positions are in brackets.

1) HARRY BELL (130 points)(1st). Good grief! Twenty two first place votes can't be bad. I think you won, Harry. Over the last year he's been appearing with some excellent material in the Gannett fanzines (notably with a cover that topped the section in this poll), but has also done some great artwork for other British fanzines and, most especially, a large amount of fine stuff for American and Canadian fanzines. Uncle Hugo is watching you, Harry...

2) HARRY TURNER (41 points)(2nd). Harry Turner has been less in evidence this year since Zimri, the fanzine that publishes most of his excellent artwork, has been as infrequent as Egg. Nonetheless he has produced notable covers for Zimri 8 and Maya 8.

3) PAUL DILLON (30 points)(-). Paul is one of the comparative newcomers to fanart and hides most of his work, both cartooning and stf artwork, in Vector (producing a striking cover for issue 73/4). Still, I note that he's now appearing in several fanzines, including O'Ryan and Triode.

4) TERRY JEEVES (18 points)(7th). Terry has been as busy as ever, producing his well-known Soggies for countless fanzines around the world, illustrating his own Erg and Triode, and keeping alive some of the arcane techniques of hand-cut stencilling.

5) DAVE ROWE (17 points)(4th). Dave has been pretty quiet this year, preferring to keep his own fanzine, K, in Spartan disdain for any illustrations at all, and only producing the odd item of artwork for other fanzines, though these include a cover for Vector.

Next five:
6) Paul Skelton (15 points)(5th)
7) Don West (13 points)(-)
=8) Jim Cawthorn (10 points)(-)
=8) Lisa Conesa (10 points)(-)
=8) Eaianne Cooke (10 points)(-)
=8) Paul Ryan (10 points)(-)
=8) Arthur Thomson (10 points)(=12th)

BEST FANZINE COVER: Nine covers from six fanzines were nominated.

1) Maya 9 (Harry Bell)(10 votes). This fabulous fannish cover illustrated the three stages of fandom: the neo, the trufan, and the BNF.
=2) Maya 8 (Harry Turner)(4 votes)
=2) Maya 10 (David Hardy)(4 votes)
=4) Cynic 9 (Harry Bell)(2 votes)
=4) Zimri 8 (Harry Turner)(2 votes)

BEST ARTICLE, REPORT OR COLUMN: Thirteen items were nominated.

1) Peter Nicholls – "The Great Seacon Freak-Out" in Wrinkled Shrew 4 (7 votes). Peter's first nervous step into fanwriting produced a long and entertaining con report which, in best fannish tradition, captured some of the atmosphere of the good times, libelled many passing fans, and indulged in full-scale name-dropping. Good stuff.

2) Pete Weston – "Slice of Life", a column in Maya (4 votes).
=3) Bob Shaw – "Income Taxi", an article in Maya and Mota (3 votes).
=3) Roy Kettle – 'Fan Memoirs', a series in Wrinkled Shrew (3 votes).
=5) Greg Pickersgill – "Burning Hell", fanzine reviews in SBD (2 votes)
=5) Ian Williams – "Goblin Towers", a column in Maya (2 votes).

Peter Roberts – 1976